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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 16:13 GMT
Connacht fans organise meeting
Steph Nel is coach of the Connacht rugby side which is under threat
Steph Nel's Connacht side could be wound up
A group of Connacht rugby supporters have organised a public meeting for Wednesday evening to formulate a strategy to fight the IRFU's proposals to disband the province.

Irish rugby's top brass have been considering the drastic cost-cutting measures because of a cash crisis.

The IRFU are on course for a 2.5m deficit this year and expect that to nearly double next season.

However, Connacht rugby supporters have reacted with fury to the very real threat hanging over the province.

There were protests against the IRFU at Saturday's Parker Pen Shield Quarter-Final first leg against Pontypridd which Connacht lost narrowly.

The latest part of the Connacht campaign will be Wednesday's meeting in the Radisson Hotel in Galway (2000 GMT).

We will seek the views and inputs of the public

Friends of Connacht spokesman

A spokesman for the group, known as Friends of Connacht Rugby, said the meeting had been called because of the "palpable sense of outrage" in the province.

"However there is a huge willingness among rugby people to take action rather than sit idly by," said the spokesman.

"The meeting therefore aims to firstly provide an update on the current status quo.

"The next stage then will be to seek the views and inputs of the public, so that an action plan can be agreed to ensure the survival of rugby in Connacht".

Connacht officials will then have to present their case to the next IRFU management committee meeting on 23 January.

If their appeal, as expected, falls on deaf ears at that gathering, Connacht's final avenue of appeal will be at a meeting of the full council of the IRFU which the province have requested for early February.


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